Biothrax

1 What is Biothrax?

Brand: Biothrax

Generic: Anthrax Vaccine

Anthrax is a vaccine used for the active immunization to prevent disease caused by Bacillus anthracis usually in persons of 18 through 65 years of age.

It is indicated for pre-exposure prophylaxis of anthrax in persons at high risk of exposure. It is also approved for post-exposure prophylaxis of this disease following suspected or confirmed Bacillus anthracis exposure, together with recommended antibacterial drugs.

This vaccine works by causing the body to produce antibodies against anthrax.

Indeed, anthrax is a serious disease that may cause death. It is spread by touching or eating something that is infected with the anthrax germ i.e. Bacillus anthracis, such as animals, or by breathing in the germ.

This product is available in suspension form that is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of a trained healthcare professional.

2 What to know before using

If you are about to start a drug therapy, the risk-benefit ratio of taking the drug should be considered carefully. The suitable drug therapy is chosen by the doctor with active participation of the patient.

There are some important factors such as:

  • drug interactions,
  • patient’s condition,
  • prevalence of metabolic impairments,
  • hypersensitivity reactions etc. which may alter the desired therapeutic effects of such medications.

Sometimes the presence of other health disorders affects the beneficial effects of this medicine and even may cause serious toxic effects. The use of anthrax vaccine is contraindicated in anthrax infection, debilitated patients, and in those who are allergic to the component of this vaccine. Further, you must inform your doctor if you have had any allergic reaction to any medicine.

Certain drugs should not be used concurrently with such medications. It is always recommended to consult with your doctor if you are in need of some other medications or even any over-the-counter medicine for another health problem in order to avoid unwanted toxic effects.

Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease may outweigh the potential risk. Further, studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

3 Proper usage

This vaccine is generally given by a nurse or other trained health professional. It is given as a shot subcutaneously or intramuscularly.

The dosage schedule comprises a total of 3 doses (0, 1, and 6 months) as primary series of shots, if the vaccine is given into a muscle. But when you are at risk for hematoma formation, the vaccine is given under your skin, with a total of 4 doses (0, 2, 4 weeks, and 6 months) as primary series of shots.

You will also receive 2 additional doses i.e. booster doses at 12 and 18 months after the last shot in the primary series followed by a yearly booster dose thereafter if you are still at risk for anthrax infection.

In order for this vaccine to work properly, it is very important that you must not miss any dose.

4 Precautions to take

Firstly, regular visits to your doctor are recommended to check that this medicine is working properly or not.

Additionally, the following guidelines should be followed while receiving this medicine:

Receiving this vaccine during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby. Thus, it is advised to use an effective form of contraceptives to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while receiving the vaccine, tell your doctor immediately.

Serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis have been reported in certain individuals. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

Tell your doctor right away if you have:

  • a rash,
  • itching,
  • swelling of the tongue and throat,
  • trouble breathing after receiving the vaccine.

This vaccine is not indicated for an anthrax infection that has already started. If you have been exposed to anthrax, you must tell your doctor.

Make sure your doctor knows if you have cancer or are receiving a therapy that may weaken the immune system (e.g. steroid medicine, radiation treatment, or cancer medicines).

The stopper of the vial contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to latex. Tell your doctor if you have a latex allergy before you start receiving this vaccine.

5 Potential side effects

There are some unwanted side effects associated with each drug that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects usually go away during the treatment episode as your body adjusts to the medicine. Your healthcare professional may advise you about the ways how to prevent or reduce those unwanted side effects.

Sometimes you may need to consult with the doctor if you notice any of the following toxic effects:

  • Pain, tenderness, edema, erythema, and arm motion limitation are the most common (>10%) local (injection-site) adverse reactions.
  • Headache, muscle ache, and fatigue, and headache are the most common (≥5%) systemic adverse reactions.

Other adverse effects not listed may also occur in some individuals while undergoing vaccination. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional right away.

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